The Board of NCAN recently became aware of the conflict between workers who want to unionize and the management of the St. Joseph Health System in California and issued the following statement:
The National Coalition of American Nuns recognizes and celebrates women religious who pioneered Catholic healthcare more than 150 years ago in the United States. We applaud their longstanding commitment to serve the poor and vulnerable in our society as well as to provide a fair and just workplace for caregivers. We also recognize the growing challenges facing healthcare institutions in the current economic climate. At the same time, we have become aware of rising tension between Catholic health system management and workers who are seeking to organize a union. In this context, the National Coalition of American Nuns reaffirms our commitment to the fundamental right of workers to organize unions free from fear or intimidation. We recognize the enduring value of unions in the global economy in which we live and the growing divide between the rich and poor. We claim the rich Catholic tradition that has long recognized the indispensability of unions and worker organization as a human right, a cornerstone of genuine democracy, and a means of lifting up the full human potential of workers as full participants in the work place and in society. As women, we appreciate what it means to have a place at the table, where all are welcome to share their perspectives, talents and insights in the exercise of problem solving and imagining and shaping the future. We firmly believe that worker organization and unions contribute to the advancement of mission of our institutions - including our health care ministries - and the common good. At this critical time in our country's history, we appeal to the leaders of Catholic Healthcare and Labor to come together and reconcile their differences so that workers can flourish, our hospital ministries can continue to flourish, and we can unite in common cause for peace, immigrant rights, and universal healthcare for all. We encourage all of our members to communicate with the leaders of Catholic Healthcare Systems and Labor and express our hope for resolution and reconciliation. Sincerely, The Board of the National Coalition of American Nuns.